Melinda Van Noord, director of counseling services at Clark State College, was this year’s recipient of Project Woman’s Chrysalis Award.
Founded in 1974 by community volunteers, Project Woman is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by providing services and programs to protect, educate and empower. As a 501c3, Project Woman operates a full range of rape crisis and domestic violence services and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation.
Recipients of the Chrysalis Award demonstrate attributes of advocacy within the community, in partnership with Project Woman, on behalf of survivors, and/or stepping up and beyond barriers to create change in the conditions and awareness of domestic violence and its impact on the lives within our community. This can be one act, a series of acts, or a lifestyle and life-long journey.
“(Van Noord) demonstrates the attributes of an advocate,” said Laura Baxter, executive director of Project Woman. “She has stepped into gaps to make sure survivors get connected and are not facing the trials of trauma alone. She has been creative in establishing and sustaining programming at Clark State and within the community.”
Van Noord was nominated by Emily Parsons, community advocacy and empowerment coordinator, and on behalf of Clark State students. Project Woman has a nominating committee that review nominations and make final award decisions.
“Melinda has been an important partner to Project Woman and the Campus Advocacy program to provide services to students in need, raise awareness, and provide prevention education opportunities,” said Parsons. “Melinda has believed in the mission and has supported us on behalf of the college. She has always made sure students have access to resources. As a counselor, she is a wonderful support system for students in need.”
Van Noord said she is honored to receive the Chrysalis Award.
“As a counselor, I have found that most of the individuals I have worked with have faced trauma, especially abuse,” she said. “One of the most valuable roles in my job is helping survivors find stability and a sense of connection through their engagement at Clark State. I understand how important Project Woman's mission is for our community, and I have the greatest respect for their efforts to provide safety and empowerment for survivors.”
Van Noord said the Clark State Sexual Violence Prevention Team, established in YEAR, plans, coordinates, and provides sexual violence and domestic violence awareness and prevention programming on campus of which Project Woman plays a valuable role.
“They are a strong community partner who can provide expertise and resources to our campus members,” she said. “During the awareness months of October - Domestic Violence Awareness month - and April - Sexual Violence Awareness month, Project Woman provides trainings related to supporting survivors, provides resources for The Clothesline Project, and Clark State hosts their What Were You Wearing? exhibit, a display which defeats victim-blaming myths, in April .”
Van Noord said abuse is a common reason for referral to the Clark state Counseling Center, and Project Woman's victim advocacy program is a crucial resource.
“Urgent referrals are at times made to Project Woman, and their victim advocates' responsiveness and positive regard for our students has made a huge impact on their lives,” she said.
Nina Wiley, assistant vice president of student affairs at Clark State said Clark State’s relationship with Project Woman is key to meaningful programming to students, faculty, staff and community, and Clark State is thankful to Project Woman for recognizing the impact Van Noord has in the community.
“She demonstrates genuine care for all. This is not only evidenced by the prevention and response training she facilitates at Clark State, but also through the holistic support she offers survivors and their families,” she said. “Melinda is a true champion as she serves those affected by domestic violence. Without a doubt, she is an integral part of our community and works tirelessly to end domestic violence.”